, Muskogee, OK

December 15, 2013

Sooners win in battle of brothers

OU, Woodard get past TU, other Woodard

Associated Press

— NORMAN  — Brothers Jordan and James Woodard have been battling against each other in basketball for years.

Until Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center, though, the games were limited to their neighborhood in Arcadia, Okla., or at nearby Edmond Memorial High School.

Saturday, they finally got a chance to go head-to-head in a game that mattered and Jordan, Oklahoma’s freshman point guard, got the better of his brother individually and overall as his Sooners beat James’ Tulsa squad 101-91 in front of 5,041.

Jordan had career highs with 24 points and eight assists for the Sooners, scoring 17 of his points from the free-throw line. James, a sophomore, led the Golden Hurricane with 19 points.

Jordan attempted just four field goals.

“Pretty efficient there, isn’t it?” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “Jordan really had control of a lot of the game with his attack and had control of the paint. With the new rules, it’s just hard to keep the ball in front, especially with someone with Jordan’s combination of strength and quickness. He’s hard to keep in front of.”

The Sooners (9-1) had five players finish in double figures, with Buddy Hield adding 23 points, Cameron Clark and Isaiah Cousins 15 each and Tyler Neal 12.

Shaquille Harrison and Pat Swilling Jr. had 17 points each for the Golden Hurricane (3-7). Swilling hit five 3-pointers.

This was a game James had looked forward to since it was announced during the summer.

But the game took on an even bigger importance for the freshman earlier in the week when sophomore guard Je’lon Hornbeak, Jordan’s backup at point guard, broke his foot.

Hornbeak is expected to miss four to six weeks.

“I just wanted to stay aggressive and not take any plays off,” Jordan said. “I knew I was comfortable with our backup point-guard play but I really wanted to stay conscious of my fouls so I could be available.”

Woodard was plenty aggressive, getting to the free-throw line time after time.

“It’s a cool game for the Woodard family,” Tulsa coach Danny Manning said. “You’ve got your two sons out there battling, and you’ve got another family member singing the national anthem. That’s a cool experience and that is something that the family will be able to share for a long time.”

The brothers’ older sister, Jasmyne Walker, sang the anthem before the game.

Jordan finished 17 of 22 from the line, leaving Manning shaking his head.

The teams combined to shoot 78 free throws.

“We’ve got to get off that topic,” Manning said when asked about the free-throw numbers afterward. He said he didn’t remember many games in his career--either coaching or playing--where one player shot 22 free throws.

Oklahoma was 34-of-48 overall from the line.

The Sooners led by 12 points late in the first half after controlling things most of the way.

But the Golden Hurricane dominated the final 6:20 before the break, outscoring Oklahoma 19-9 to cut the deficit to two, 40-38, at halftime.

“When you shoot that many free throws, it’s going to be a game that kind of has a broken flow,” Kruger said. “We opened with good flow, they went zone and didn’t really have good attack there at the end of the first half.

“I thought we attacked much better in the second half and had shots we wanted.”

The Sooners turned up the pace in the second half, scoring 20 points — 10 by Hield — in the first six minutes to regain control.

“My teammates just found me in the right spots,” Hield said. “We hit the offensive glass and we got back defensively. We found a couple lanes and they found me in the corner for a couple of shots. Jordan found me on a couple of shots and my teammates made plays and we stayed aggressive.”

The Sooners lost sophomore forward Ryan Spangler late in the first half with an injury to his right calf. Hornbeak broke his foot early in the week and is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Spangler, who had six rebounds in the first half, briefly returned to the game after suffering the injury but did not go through warmups after halftime and had his leg wrapped heavily.

The meeting was the first since the 2008-09 season between the in-state teams.